No soup and pie fundraiser in Rosemary. No Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Alberta relief sale in Sherwood Park. No golf fundraisers with barbecued lunches. In other words, no fun—and no money being raised through MCC for all the vulnerable people living in more than 50 countries in the developing world.
This year, according to Robin Grimstead, MCC Alberta’s development director, it was expected that the provincial organization would raise at least $180,000 at the annual relief sale alone.
So, in early June, MCC decided to launch a fundraiser that would be creative and fun and still keep people safe from COVID-19. Individuals and families were challenged to celebrate the 100th anniversary of MCC by doing 100 of something and collecting sponsorships in person or online. The challenge is called Go! 100.
Deanna and Shami Willms and their family from Foothills Mennonite in Calgary each picked a challenge. Twelve-year-old Kai had learned to make homemade pastry from his grandmother on Facetime a week into the COVID-19 outbreak, so he decided to make 100 tarts: chocolate, cherry, and blueberry. He then delivered some to the teachers still working at Menno Simons Christian School as well as to family, friends, and people in his mom’s book club. Fifteen-year-old Ethan committed to doing 100 free throw shots in a row. Deanna and Shami decided to each walk or run 100 kilometres and they turned it into a bit of a competition, which resulted in Deanna “easily becoming the winner.” Shami was heard claiming in the background, “I am close behind!”
Sierra Janzen, the two-year-old granddaughter of Abe Janzen, the former executive director of MCC Alberta, signed up to swing in the playground for 100 minutes.
Donita Wiebe-Neufeld and her horse CD trotted around Sherwood Park for 100 kilometres, having invited children to feed the horse carrots and apples.
Robin Grimstead and her family decided to get rid of 100 items and donate them to the Calgary MCC Thrift Store. In their case, they got so excited about the purge that each family member decided to get rid of 100 items, resulting in a total of 400 donated items. According to Grimstead, “Nothing in the home was safe. Everyone understood that if it wasn’t locked down, it was gone!”
Deb Kirkpatrick of First Mennonite Church in Edmonton chose to pray 100 times using a variety of prayer labyrinths. She even borrowed six-metre canvas labyrinth from the hospital to lay out in her backyard as needed. She has been walking prayer labyrinths since 1999 and sees the practice as a spiritual tool. For the Go! 100 challenge, she says, “The focus of my labyrinth walks will be inviting justice, reconciliation and peace within myself and for the community.”
MCC has a very special place in Kirkpatrick’s heart. “MCC is close to our family,” she says. “In the 1930s, my mother lived in the Ukraine during a time of extreme famine. MCC gave them a big bag of oats and it got them through the winter. They would not have survived without it.” Later, her mother was sponsored by MCC to come to Canada.
All across the province families are joining in the Go! 100 fun.
That’s why Ashley and Tyrell Harder and their two children, Khyrin, 7, and Josiah, 5, in High Level chose to commit to “move” 100 kilometres as a family by the end of June by biking, walking, hiking and skateboarding. Khyrin was responsible to record their kilometres.
“Each donation to Go! 100 is a gift of hope,” says Grimstead. “And for every dollar donated, our friends at Flaman Fitness and the Penner family will match donations up to $70,000.” As of June 22, the project had raised $82,640, so with the matching grant the total sat at $152, 640.
Who knew that making 100 bag lunches for Calgary’s homeless population, crocheting 100 dishcloths, and doing 100 push ups could result in such a big return?
To learn more, or to register an MCC Go! 100 event, visit mcccanada.ca.
Do you have a story idea about Mennonites in Alberta? Send it to Joanne De Jong at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sierra Janzen, two-year-old granddaughter of Abe Janzen, former executive director of Mennonite Central Committee Alberta, is swinging for 100 minutes to raise money for this year’s Go!100 challenge (Photo by Abe Janzen)
Deb Kirkpatrick from Edmonton First Mennonite Church is praying 100 times through prayer labyrinths to raise money for MCC’s Go!100 challenge. On this day she is praying with a hand-held clay labyrinth. (Photo by Deb Kirkpartrick)
One hundred homemade tarts were made by 12-year-old Kai Willms from Foothills Mennonite Church in Calgary to raise money for MCC’s Go! 100 challenge. (Photo by Deanna Willms)
The Harder family in High Level, Alta., commit to collectively “move” 100 kilometres by biking, hiking, walking and skateboarding before the end of June to raise money for MCC’s Go!100 challenge. Pictured from left to right: Khyrin, Tyrell and Josiah. (Photo by Ashley Harder)